I wonder how the last dinosaurs died. Did they sense that their era was over and mindlessly, like ten ton lemmings, march directly to the tar pits?

Did the last dinosaurs see the advancing glacier and bravely attack in hope of saving their doomed world? Or was the last brontosaurus peacefully sleeping while the world around him came to a sudden end (sort of a prehistoric Ronald Reagan)? We may never know.

We do know, however, that if the last dinosaur was alive today, he would write a book and spend his last moments of life plugging it on Geraldo and Donahue. I know this because I saw a distant cousin of his on TV this morning.

On the TODAY show, Bryant Gumble interviewed Ralph Nader. Now before you get mad at me, I loved Ralph Nader in the sixties. Everyone, well almost everyone, did. I was very fond of him in the seventies. But by the early eighties I grew weary of Ralph and his inability to move forward. Today is October 1, 1990 and Ralph is pushing his newest book, Winning The Insurance Game. This book is supposed to be the final word for the general public about insurance. You can almost hear Ed McMahon say: “Everything you need to know about insurance is in THIS BOOK. Everything.

The interview began with Ralph earnestly telling Bryant how his new book will protect consumers from insurance companies and their agents. Some people will read the book cover to cover and become insurance experts, trained and prepared to educate the masses. Some people will simply check the book when they are about to make a purchase. When asked about those consumers who might not want to tackle Mr. Nader’s newest tome, Ralph advised that smart consumers would do well by simply placing the book on the table when discussing insurance with an agent. Like garlic and a cross, Ralph’s book might protect you from vampire insurance agents. Oh come on, Ralph.

Bryant managed to keep a straight face and asked Mr. Nader for some specifics. Could Ralph quickly name some super savers? Trap set! The last dinosaur reached deep inside himself and came up empty. “If you own a car that is seven years old, you might not need collision insurance anymore.” Gee Ralph, my twelve year old knows that. What other nugget can we recover from your empty mine?

Should we spend $25.95 to be advised to read contracts before we sign and to look both ways before we cross the street? When pressed about life insurance, Ralph endorsed both cash value and term policies. In five minutes, Ralph Nader exhausted a lifetime supply of common sense and, flogging the obvious, common knowledge. The pioneering author of Unsafe At Any Speed had become just one more guy with a word processor for a palette but no ribbon left in the printer.

The interview ended and as the TODAY show faded into commercial, I knew that Mr. Nader had a busy day ahead. Sally, Oprah, Phil and Geraldo would all squeeze him in between the daily mix of Siamese sextuplets and “men who kick their dogs and the women who love them”.

I wonder if Ralph can hear the tar pits calling.